It’s like synchronized swimming — just on ice.
Halifax plays host to the Eastern Regional Festival of Synchronized Skating this weekend, where teams as large as 16 skaters will perform routines to music.
More than 600 skaters from the Atlantic provinces and Quebec will compete in the Eastern tournament, which decides who goes on to the national competition.
Longtime figure skater Lindsey Parker, 18, a rookie at synchro skating, isn’t afraid to admit she’s nervous.
“This is our first time going out and doing it in front of people,” she said.
“I’m just hoping everything goes smoothly. With our first competition, I’m not concerned with placing, I’m just hoping to do our best.”
There are 10 girls on her team, the Riverview Eclipse. They practise on a rink in Brooklyn, near Windsor.
“Synchro is a lot of fun because you have that bond with your team members,” said Parker.
“It’s not as nerve-wracking when you go out by yourself on the ice where there’s a million people staring at just you.”
Synchronized skating might sound a little obscure, but there are efforts to make it an introductory sport in the 2010 Olympics.
“They move really fast and do intricate turns, and they’re required to do certain moves in each of their programs like a wheel and a circle,” said Ann Young, a volunteer at the event. “The senior competitive teams do lifts, and it involves two or three girls lifting another girl up over their heads and skating down the ice at the same time.”
It’s the first time Halifax has hosted this competition. It will also be the last tournament under this name. Skate Canada has changed the qualifying rules, making the regional competition a little different next year.
“It’s a huge spectator sport,” said Young. “It’s exciting and fun, and it has costumes and music.”